Coronavirus: Hearing Implant Centre update
In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, please read our advice and information before attending the service.
If you are referred to us, our hearing implant team will check your suitability for having a hearing implant fitted and guide you to find the one best suited to you.
We offer all possible surgical hearing implants such as cochlear implants, bone conduction implants and middle ear implants. The team constantly review new implants and add to our hearing implant portfolio as appropriate.
As a specialist service we see both adults and Evelina London child patients. All appointments take place in the Hearing Implant Centre, 2nd floor, Lambeth Wing, St Thomas' Hospital.
Before your appointment
Please bring with you:
- any hearing aids you wear
- a list of the healthcare professionals involved in your care
- a list of current medication you are taking.
Please let us know in advance if you require an interpreter during your appointments, as it can take time to co-ordinate this. We can arrange interpreters for all languages, including British sign language (BSL).
If you find it a challenge to lip-read, staff members will make sure you have access to the information you need by typing what is being said.
Changing or cancelling appointments
If you cannot attend an appointment please let the department know as soon as possible:
The assessment process
The assessment process will take place over a number of appointments. The expected length of time from referral to operation will vary depending on your needs and situation.
Throughout the process the team will discuss the likely risks and benefits of a hearing implant. Once the assessment is completed we will send the team report to you and any professionals you have asked us to inform.
If you are offered a hearing implant you are under no pressure to accept. The process is as much for you to gather information about the benefits and risk so you can make an informed decision about whether a hearing implant is for you.
Duration: three hours.
You will be invited to attend an information day, which is open to extended family, to find out more about cochlear implantation. This will help you to be better informed for the decision making process.
A palantypist (speech to text) will be available for those who find lip reading problematic.
Initial screening assessment
Duration: up to two hours.
Here you will have an initial meeting with an audiological scientist, and also possibly a member of the rehabilitation team, who will:
- explain the assessment process
- take a full case history
- discuss issues surrounding hearing implants
- carry out audiological assessment, for example a hearing test.
Duration: 30 minutes.
This initial meeting with an ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon will involve discussion of:
- your medical case history
- decisions regarding further assessments required.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computer tomography (CT) may also be discussed.
Full assessment (if appropriate after initial assessments)
Duration: up to two hours per appointment.
Further clinic appointments will be needed to assess your hearing, amplification needs and functional aided hearing abilities.
The number of appointments required will vary but will typically include the following:
- hearing aid fitting
- non-invasive auditory brainstem hearing test (ABR)
- speech perception testing.
Speech and language assessments
Duration: up to two hours.
At this session we will evaluate your communication skills and the impact that hearing loss has had on you.
We will also discuss issues surrounding implantation, expectations and outcomes.
MRI and CT scans
If appropriate, we will carry out magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and/or computerised tomography (CT) scanning to obtain a picture of the ear and hearing nerves.
You will receive feedback from the scan when you meet with the surgeon at the end of the assessment or at your next appointment with the team.
Duration: 30 minutes
A final appointment with the surgeon will involve discussion of:
- medical issues surrounding hearing implant surgery
- surgical consent.
Once you have signed your consent you will be offered the next available surgery slot by the ear, nose and throat (ENT) admissions team.
We will do our best to give you as much notice as possible. If you are unable to accept the date they offer, we will offer you an alternative date.
Preparing for surgery
You will need to attend a pre-admissions check, which may be weeks or days before your surgery (it is often carried out on the same day as final ENT). At this appointment a doctor will make sure you are medically fit for surgery.
If you require accommodation the night before your surgery please contact the admissions team.
Find more information about the accommodation available for you or your carer.
Please note you may wish to bring a notepad or whiteboard to help you communicate following the operation.
For more guidance on preparing children for surgery, please visit the Evelina London website.
Watch these short YouTube videos about the cochlear implant surgical process to find out what to expect.
You will be discharged with contact numbers, advice to follow and a follow-up appointment with the surgeon. You can contact us at any stage should you have any questions or concerns in between these follow-up appointments.
In the months following your surgery we see you regularly for clinic sessions and rehabilitation. We will then continue to see you annually as required.